I love being a bookkeeper. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling career and it is not just because of the rapidly evolving financial technology or my terrific clients. I actually just straight up love doing books. I will admit I manage my love of it a tad. There are aspects of bookkeeping that I don’t do – heavy inventory, multi currency or complicated payroll. Although I do not do some of the niche stuff, I love core bookkeeping.
If you’ve read any of my prior posts you already know I’m a fan of FinTech. A big fan, who spends tons of time poking around in new apps and evangelizing about the ones I already know and love. I spend a lot of my business day implementing and educating people about it, and can’t wait to yack on about it to anyone who will listen. The new FinTech provides great benefits to the user and makes accounting professionals’ jobs more efficient and interesting – exciting actually. However awesome the programs and apps are, I would still love bookkeeping even if I had to do it using a ledger and manually reconcile statements.
I have also been known to go on – and on – about the great client base I have. I am blessed to have an engaged, varied and personable group of clients that I have enjoyed being partnered with for a long time. And I love that our relationship is way more than me being their “bookkeeper”. I’m a trusted business colleague, an adviser, a full fledged team member for most of them. But I would still love bookkeeping if I had arm’s length, impersonal clients.
My husband’s business is seasonal, and being a bookkeeper gives me the freedom to work from pretty much anywhere, including the car while we are road tripping from place to place. I realize it’s the combination of all the FinTech and my clients’ openness to early adoption of these technologies, as well as their willingness to communicate with me through modern means, which allows me to travel and work in unison. But I loved bookkeeping long before I had the freedom to do it from anywhere, anytime.
Bookkeeping has a start and a finish, a clear set of steps, procedures and routines that you follow to produce the end product – compliant and meaningful client facing financial records. You begin at point A with stated transactions and end at point Z with clean reconciliations that authenticate what has actually occurred. There are acceptable practices and principles that need to be followed, but there is often more than one right way to accomplish the tasks that lead to Z. This leaves some wiggle room for personal preferences or best practices associated with different types of businesses.
Focus and organization are key traits of bookkeepers. Bookkeepers must focus on important dates, deadlines & activities, keep transactions organized and on track in order to keep books moving along to Z. Clients, no matter how awesome they are, have their heads down running their business and rely on us to develop their accounting systems and game plans. They need us to make it easy for them to get documents, receipts and statements to us. They need us to make sure that their invoices are going out and that their customers are paying them. They need to make sure that bills are coming in and vendors are being paid. They need us to categorize activities accurately and to the correct accounts. They need to know how much and when the government is owed. They need accurate records of cash flow now and coming up. Keeping all these tasks, to do’s and structures operating smoothly is not for the “faint of organized”.
This is the stuff of task oriented folks, especially since often there are frustrating, de-tangling, sleuthing days in the field of accounting. There are many times that transactions don’t make sense, they are not compliant, they are missing, they are duplicated – the list goes on. There are many, many surprises in most accounting files. But a bookkeeper needs to get to Z, often on a tight deadline, and if one is not task oriented it would be easy to walk away from these challenges.
But man oh man these are my traits. I am a relentless organizer, in business and in life. No one’s cupboard or fridge is safe from my need to put things in order. And I remain utterly focused on a task until it is completed, it’s not done until it’s done. I live and breathe routines, morning and work ones.
The core of bookkeeping is a series of actions, steps, ticks and checks – literally when you are reconciling accounts. If this is your schtick there is great satisfaction when you hit that final button that says you are done, that the file is accurate and closed. I actually can’t wait till the 5th of every month, when I know the statements will be ready (by ready I mean fetched by Hubdoc of course). Knowing that all the tasks I have been rolling through, all the details I have been agonizing over, everything I have been working towards is about to be verified makes me giddy.
Clearly I love being a bookkeeper. It suits me to a tee. I love being part of a collaborating group of like minded people. I get them, they understand me, our minds work the same. Add in my excitement of FinTech roaring ahead and a passel of great clients that trust me with business and technology advice, and you can picture why I feel so grateful to be in this career.